It has often been said that many Nigerians don’t read. While some have attributed the country’s low reading culture to a lack of interest, others, like Nathaniel Okwoli, believe it has more to do with a lack of access.
In Nigeria, there are only 316 libraries for a population of almost 200 million, making access to quality books few and far in-between for many Nigerians.
In a bid to make quality reading material more readily available, Nathaniel and his team founded Booklify.ng, an online social book discovery platform devoted to building a global community of book lovers. The website encourages users to read, discuss, write reviews, and share their favourite content, while giving authors a platform to publish, distribute, and earn from their stories.
Nathaniel was inspired to develop the platform in early 2016, after struggling to find the perfect book that matched his interests. It was only after a friend gave him a recommendation that he was able to finally settle on “Zero to One” by Peter Theil. From this experience, he began to imagine a website that would help “make finding and sharing your favourite books easy and fun”.
In 2016, armed with just an idea, Nathaniel was selected from 93,000 plus applications from across 54 African countries, to participate in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. He credits the 12-week training programme for helping him to better understand his target market and for giving him his very first seed capital. Since its launch, Booklify’s popularity has steadily grown, with new users latching onto the platform every day. Currently, the platform boasts over 1,000 active users and has already started generating revenue through commissions from online book sales.
For Nathaniel, being a part of the TEF Alumni Network has opened many doors and helped to connect him with countless opportunities. As his business continues to grow, Nathaniel hopes to incorporate Artificial Intelligence into his platform in order to improve user experience and to expand Booklify to other African countries outside of Nigeria. Hopefully, with the rise of Booklify, more Africans will begin to embrace a culture of reading and lifelong learning.